The extent of state’s sovereign power to acquire land and property is at times over exercised. Critically comment.
It has always been a matter of concern regarding the extent of a State’s sovereign power over land and property. The Supreme Court in the Kedar Nath Yadav v/s State of West Bengal verdict recently, invalidated the expropriation of land in Singur by the erstwhile government of West Bengal and ordered that the acquired properties be returned to the original land owners.
- The right of an individual on land and property is no longer a fundamental right and it therefore gives ample scope that any person is deprived of his property
- The compensation paid by the state is at times a very meager amount.
- Properties can be acquired for ‘public purpose’ but the scope of the term ‘public purpose’ is often misinterpreted by the governments.
Though the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 (LARR Act) addressed the issues to a large extent, still its implementation is lacking at various instances.
Under the LAAR 2013:
- The term ‘public purpose’ has been defined with great clarity
- It has also clearly mentioned that the prior consent of at least 80% of the affected land owners be sought.
But, some basic problems still remain:
- The strong lack of skilled labours for the industries to be set up.
- The rural youth remains unskilled and apart from agriculture and their own land, they can hardly find any employment.
- The compensation for acquiring land is often delayed by the government and that causes a life and death situation for the peasants
- It is seen that mostly the rich has been benefited from the land acquisition act.
- Even after strong legislations, the poor continues to remain so.
- The role of middlemen, lack of digitization of land records are age old problems.
The laws made by the governments on land acquisition are often directed towards over exercise of their sovereign powers. The bigger question is that whether the land acquired in the name of development, really develops the states or really solves the problem of poverty or not.